Friday, 2 September 2011

Trees in Hindu Scriptures

From the very beginning trees have a very important role in our Hindu scriptures. Some treeshave been described on and off.

Naaraayan on a Leaf of a Banyan Tree
When Maarkandeya Jee saw the Deluge he saw Naaraayan lying on a leaf of a banyan tree in an infant form in the Pralaya waters.

Kalp Vriksh and Paarijaat Vriksh from Saagar Manthan
When Saagar Manthan waa done to extract Amrit and Lakshmee, two Divine trees, a Kalp Taru (Kalp Vriksh) and a Paarijaat Vriksh also came out from that Saagar Manthan. Both Kalp Taru and Paarijaat trees were planted in Indra's Nandan Van (garden). Kalp Taru fulfills all desires, and flowers of Paarijaat Tree never fade away. Later Krishn brought the Paarijaat tree to Dwaarakaa for His beloved wife Satyabhaamaa, and the same went back to Nandan Van when Krishn left Prithvi for His own Lok.

Peepal - A Sacred Tree
These trees are considered very sacred trees in Hindu religion. People worship these trees on special occasions as well as even daily.

--Worshipping Peepal tree gives relief from Shani's (Saturn) affliction;

Banyan Tree for Shani Dev
--While Banyan tree (Bat, or Vat or Baragad) is worshipped by married women on Vat Saavitree Vrat day (Bad Amaavasyaa) on the Amaavasyaa day of Jyeshth Maas of Hindu Lunar month.

Tulasee Plant for Vishnu
--Tulasee plant is a well-known sacred plant normally found in all Hindu households. All women, even men too, worship it daily with water, Dhoop, Deep, Rolee and Akshat. Importance of its worship is multiplied in Kaarttik Maas of the Hindu Lunar calendar. Vishnu Bhagavaan does not accept anything (any food item) without Tulasee leaf.

Bel and Dhatooraa Tree for Shiv
Bel tree is another tree which is used in Hindu worship. Bel fruit and its leaves are offered to Shiv whenever he is worshipped. Dhatooraa fruit is also offered to Shiv while worshipping him.

Krishn and Two Trees
This story comes in Bhaagvat, 10/p4. There were two sons of Lord Kuber - Nalakoobar and Manigreev. Once they were sitting on the banks of Mandaakinee River and drinking wine. Later they started playing with women inthe river too. In the meantime Naarad Jee came there. The Apsaraa wre their clothes but these Yaksh did not, Naarad Jee cursed them to be trees. When they asked his for his forgiveness, he said that they will be freed from his curse in Dwaapar Yug (after 100 Divine years) when Krishn will be incarnated and He would free them. They were born as trees and became famous as Yamalaarjun. Krishn freed them

Bodhisattwa Tree
Trees not only tell history but also inspire awe and spiritualism in people. None is a greater example than Gautam Buddha, who attained wisdom under the Bodhi tree; hence the name Bodhisattwa. A branch of this tree was taken to Sri Lanka in the year 286 BC and planted there at Anuraadhaa Pur. This makes it the oldest human-planted tree in the world. And it was Lord Buddha who said: “A tree is a wonderful living organism which gives food, shelter, warmth and protection to all living things. It even gives shade to those who wield an axe to cut it down”.

Some Unusual Trees
Trees are not only Divine or for worship or for giving wisdom, they are ancient and unusual too.
If the Bodhi tree is about 2,300 years old, the giant sequoia trees of California too are its contemporary. Standing tall at 275 feet high, weighing about 6,000 tons and covering a volume of 1,480 cubic meters (52,500 cubit feet), they are huge.

Even older is the bristlecone pine tree, aptly named Methusela, standing at 11,000 ft above sea level, it is estimated to be about 48,838 years old.

But the oldest tree in the world is reported to be at Dalama in the Norway-Sweden border. It is an evergreen coniferous spruce tree. Scientists estimate that its trunk lives up to 600 years, and that it has cloned itself over the years.

There is one mango tree

Special Trees
There is one Aamalaa Tree (Indian Gooseberry) on the sea shore where Aadi Shankar showed his power to rain golden Aamalaa fruits for an old woman. That tree is known as "Tamaalam" is found only along the seashore. It is a rare tree. This is the most widely spread tree. It has countless branches. (See its description)

A Thought
Then why do we animals have definite life times, longevities and die as we age? Why can we not clone ourselves into immortality like plants and trees? Even our cells cannot go on dividing and reproducing themselves beyond about 40 cycles. The answer to this puzzle came from an understanding of the mechanism of genetic duplication in our chromosomes.

Each time a chromosome divides and makes a copy of itself, a small bit of its end (called the tail end or telomere) is lost. Thus, after a set number of duplications, the progressive telomere shortening leads to the dead end. Understanding telomere biology and how cells are ‘immortalized' in cancer (through the enzyme called telomerase) came from the work of a large number of people, culminating in the work of Drs. Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider (who won the Nobel in 2009 for this work). That plants have a somewhat different mechanism of ageing became apparent soon enough, and Dr Barbara McLintock (who won the Nobel for discovering how genes can 'jump' or transpose themselves) called it ‘chromosome healing'.

We now understand a little better that ageing and telomere action in plants are different from animals. When we talk of an animal's life span, we talk of the survival of its entire body, but in a plant, there is comparatively only a rudimentary body plan. Plants grow in a modular form - individual modules being roots, shoots and branches, leaves, inflorescence and such.

As leaves age and die off, the rest of the plant does not. Also, plants grow using what are called vegetative meristems — these are undifferentiated stem cells that can regenerate into the entire organism. Thus, one can pick up a twig or a branch and grow the entire tree, or graft into another and make a new tree with added features. And cell death is not the death of the entire organism. A lucid, readable review of the subject is published by Drs J Matthew Watson and Karel Riha of Vienna, Austria. Titled “Telomeres, Aging and Plants: From Weeds to Methuselah: A Mini-review”, it is published on line on April 17, 2010 in the journal "Gerontology". Those interested may go to, type out the above details and download the entire article free.

No comments:

Post a Comment